tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 1, 2012 3:00am-4:00am PST
when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. do you remember the color-coded alert system we used to have? remember that? tom ridge announced the exist tense of our national color-coded be afraid alert chart about a decade ago. we could tell at a glance how alert we were supposed to feel. and if you didn't feel like glancing at the be alert chart, at least a at the airport they would read periodic recorded statements over the intercom telling you out loud that
today's threat level was orange. the threat level was always orange at the airport no matter what else was going on in the country. we don't do that anymore. we don't do that. we got rid of the chart thing last year and nobody complained. we also no longer have this. this is the google street view of one of the secret prisons we used to have in romania. the associated press did an overhead satellite view so you could see just how snugged up our secret prison was against the railway lines in a densely populated area of bucharest. that was ours. we are a country with 2 million people in prison or jail on any given day. america has thousands of prisons and jails here at home, but we decided to open up something in romania too in secret. also in poland and a bunch of other places. we don't do that anymore either.
they emptied them out in 2006. and in 2009 it became official policy that we don't do that anymore. for years do you remember there was a ban on taking photos at dover? a ban on taking photos of flag-draped coffins of americans killed in war having their bodies brought back home to the united states. we the public were banned from seeing those pictures for years. but that ban is over now. we do not have that ban anymore. we don't do that anymore. we're now allowed to see. for awhile top level u.s. policymakers approved torturing people. and americans did torture people based on policy advise that it was legal for them to do so. but the current president put a stop to that right when he took office. we don't do that anymore. some things we stop doing. some things that we were told, yeah, maybe this is unprecedented, maybe this sunt seem like the thing america does, but we have to do that. some of those things from the
past decade are things that we have stopped doing. that said, some of the things we still are doing are still pretty hard to get your head around. we're still fighting the longest war in u.s. history and still has two-plus years on the clock. it's the longest war in u.s. history and we were fighting it at the same time as another one of the longest wars in u.s. history. if you told anybody in advance of that plan that that's how our country would spend the first decade plus of the 21st century, you would have been laughed at. before we started doing it, you could not have convinced anyone that after we closed our secret prisons in places like romania, we'd keep one in a nearby communist country that doesn't want us there. in advance of us starting to do this stuff, how would you have convinced somebody, how would you have convinced somebody that we were going to do this? how would you convince them that the united states would consider it it legal to find a wanted
american citizen living abroad, track him down, and then for the u.s. government to kill him with a missile in that other country? the man's father went to court in advance of our government doing that to try to stop the u.s. government from doing it. the father sued to say in advance that his son should be arrested instead of killed on the spot if he was found, but he was found and he was just killed on the spot with a missile. u.s. citizen. then a month later, we killed his 16-year-old son too. also an american citizen. same cause of death. we have done things in the past decade or so that if you asked anybody in advance of us starting to behave this way, whether the united states would be a country that behaved this way there's no way you could have convinced them. we grant ourselves permission toability this way when we set our response to being the victim of a massive terrorist attack in 2001 was going to be was that we were going to declare that we were at war. congress passed an authorization of military force against the
group that attacked us and associated forces. and the power granted by that authorization to use force undergirds a lot of the things we have done. over the past decade, in this administration and in the previous one. things that constitute unimaginable behavior for the united states of america. we're on a war footing. and is that war footing forever? that's the question, right? when does it end? it's not a philosophical question, it's an empirical question. because, this is not a war that we ever planned on winning. we planned on just fighting it for awhile and then eventually stopping, maybe. i'm not just saying that because that's my take on it. and i'm a commie pinky liberal, although i am. i'm saying that because it's been the understanding all along from the people who declared this war in the first place this was never something we were going to know it was over because we had a winner. it was never planned that way. >> you said to me a second ago, one of the things you will lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. that phrase strikes me a little
bit. do you really think we can win this war on terror? for example, in the next four years? >> i have never said we can win it in four years. >> can we win it? do you see that? >> i don't think you can win it. >> your daughters are how old now? >> 22. >> 22 years old. they're approaching the age, president bush, they're going to have their own children. when their kids are teenagers, are they going to, those kids, your grandchildren, be reading about al qaeda in the newspaper every day? >> you know, i know if we're steadfast, strong and resolute, and i say those words very seriously, it's less likely that your kids are going to live under the threat of al qaeda for a long period of time. i can't tell you, i don't have a definite end. >> definite end. i don't think you can win it. our country has used the idea that we are at war. not just in iraq or afghanistan, but all over the globe. we have used the idea we're in this global war as the
justification for us doing all kinds of things, exerting all kinds of power that would otherwise be not just indefensible for a country with a constitution like ours, not just indefensible but almost unimaginable. in this global war of ours, they said would not end because there was going to be a winner declared. there couldn't be. it's not that kind of war. so if that's the case, and being in a war footing is what justifies all this behavior that we wouldn't otherwise be participating in, when does this war end? when do we say that the global war that we declared more than 11 years ago is now over? today for the first time, a u.s. government official started talking about how this ends. >> now that efforts by the u.s. military against al qaeda are in their 12th year, we must also ask ourselves, how will this conflict end? >> this is it the top lawyer at the pentagon. the general counsel of the defense department, jeh johnson,
speaking today at oxford university in britain broaching a subject as far as i know that nobody at a high level of government has been officially willing to broach since 9/11. >> how will this conflict end? it is an unconventional conflict against an unconventional enemy and will not end in conventional terms. we cannot, and should not, expect al qaeda and its associated forces to all surrender, all lay down their weapons in an open field, or to sign a peace treaty with us. they are terrorist organizations. nor can we capture or kill every last terrorist who claims an affiliation with al qaeda. i can offer no prediction about when this conflict will end. or whether we are as winston churchill once described it near the "beginning of the end." on the present course, i do
believe, there will come a tipping point. a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the united states. such that al qaeda, as we know it, the organization that our congress authorized the military to pursue in 2001, has been effectively destroyed. >> approaching a tipping point. i just want to jump in for a second to say this is the unprecedented part that we have been waiting for. watch. >> at that point, we must be able to say to ourselves that our efforts should no longer be considered a "armed conflict against al qaeda and its associated forces." rather a counterterrorism effort against individuals who are the scattered remnants of al qaeda, or are part of groups
unaffiliated with al qaeda, for which the law enforcement and intelligent resources of our government are principally responsible. >> at some point, it will stop being war and will go back to being police work and intelligence work against terrorism, as a threat that we fight, but we do not say we are at war with it anymore. how much would it change us back as a country to hit that point? can we go back? have we irredeembly and irreversibly changed ourselves for being at war for 12 years now? is this first word on how we might do it enough to reasonably expect that we are ever actually going to get there? >> war violates the natural order of things in which children bury their parents. in war, parents bury their children. in its 12th year we must not accept the current conflict and all that it entails as the, quote, new normal. >> joining us is john suskind.
pulitzer prize winning journalist, senior harvard fellow for ethics, author of many bus selling books. thank you very much for being here. >> my pleasure. >> is there a window of political opportunity right now in washington after this election to maybe some change some of the very basic footing that we decided on after 9/11? some of the stuff the president carried over from the previous administration? >> indisputably. that's what people are hopeful about. looking at this comment, it's being pulled apart word by word tonight, is this going to be a predicate, an opportunity for the president now that he doesn't have to stand for re-election to do some of the things people hoped he would have done in his first term. certainly shut down guantanamo. a big promise he couldn't manage and he pulled back from that. there are clear issues here of the presidency hopefully snapping back into the shape it had prior to 9/11. that's the hope of lots of constitutional scholars. it has not done that up to now.
most of the powers granted or obtained by the bush administration have conveyed, if you will, to the obama administration, some calf yet that you mention. so the question is this the beginning of the president creating a new normal, as johnson says, in which we are not in a state of war and the president is not executing war powers in a consistent and endless way. >> ron, you are a student of leadership, both a student of good leadership and bad leadership. i feel like leaders good and bad can generally be counted on to never give up power that they have been granted. if this president does draw a hard line under the war, the war on terror and say the war is over and the powers that i had that are associated with this war are no longer the powers of this office, i mean, is that -- is that a fantasy? is that something that you can imagine this president doing? can you imagine any president doing?
>> you know, if he's going to do it, this constitutional law president, it will be in this term. it might be toward the end of this term. the issues, no matter what happens on some of these sort of legal sort of standards, the issues in a way don't change. small groups of people can get their hands on weapons that were once powerful and reserved for nations. that doesn't change. that's carried by technology and it's one of the great perils of the modern age. having said that, it's clear that this president has thought a lot about how to establish that crucial principle rule of law, duly designated to shape the u.s. policies. now here, let's be clear on what's at stake here. it's not so much drone strikes. i think that's been misinterpreted. the president under the powers of the articles can continue with essentially the kind of global war on terror, call it whatever you will, that he's been conducting. especially the drone strikes.
what he can do is kill, but he can't capture, interestingly enough under article 2. the being issue is guantanamo. this particular pronouncement by jeh johnson really is about guantanamo. under the current legal framework that we're looking at, guantanamo, that won't work if we're not at war. they will have to come up with a different legal structure to make that operative. and now certainly congress can do that at some point. but guantanamo is the question mark based on what johnson said. maybe johnson auditioning for attorney general, you know, he's out of there in january. but it may be even more than that, a predicate, a little bit of groundwork by this administration to say, we're thinking about this, and this may be up ahead. now that the president doesn't have to stand for re-election. >> in terms of that as a predicate, maybe even a political predicate, either for jeh johnson or for the administration as a whole, is there any significance of him delivering this speech not in the united states? i mean he did this speech at
oxford and did it right after the election. do you see that as important? >> you know, i think time and place is always important. the british have a bit of a different position on some of these things than we do. actually they're a little bit ahead of us, you might say, on some of the issues of detainees, of how we conduct ourselves globally. i think we don't really know here, rachel, until we hear from the administration. this is raising a question, people are going to be pressing the administration in the next couple of days to say, can you give us more specifics? is this the start of a new way of thinking and maybe new policies that will be unfolding in the next couple of months? let's say. or is this a trial balloon and you're seeing how it looks and how people react to it and it may fall under the category of we're trying, and here you're catching us trying, but not much is going to happen. the fact is if there's another terrorist attack in the the united states, many of these issues go right back to where we were back to the restart button. and be clear, under the article
2 powers of the presidency, this president can do a great deal. pretty much everything he does now and then some. the key issue is guantanamo. those prisoners, 166 prisoners including 50 hard-core, the president said we don't know what we're going to do with those people. they would be sitting without a legal framework if we pull back from this war powers declaration from 2001. that's a big issue. that's a complex one. >> ron suskind, senior fellow for ethics, thank you. it's great to have you here. appreciate it. >> my pleasure. >> if you want to have a further gabder of that speech from jeh johnson, we're posting clips of it at maddowblog.com. check that out. you know the shady trickery from this year's election about how would get the vote and how hard certain states were going to make it to vote this year? all that trickery is still paying dividends today. still. that story is next. s black bean soup spectacular?
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republicans took control of more seats at the state level in that election than at any time since 1928. their sweep in 2010 ushered in two years of republican governance that as much as anything else defined the republican party and what being a republican stood for. so it was two years of rolling back abortion rights and stripping union rights and passing really hard line immigration laws and making it harder for people to vote, making it harder for people to register to vote. it was years of governance in the dates defining what it meant to be a republican. in the way that the national candidates sometimes tried to run away from. the ultimately it ended up being innes capable. the proof is in the pudding. right? we know what you will be like in power. we know what your party will be like in power because of how you have comported yourself with the power that you have already got. what happens in the states matters across the country, even in national elections. that was the legacy of 2010.
this year in 2012 overshadowed by the presidential election and the congressional results once again, this year again, something amazing happens in the states. in 2012 this past election, an avalanche of states that are previously been under divided government with democrats controlling one part of the government, republicans controlling the other, those states have now moved to one-party controlling everything. so north carolina, the republicans winning back the governor's mansion means that republicans there will control the house and the senate and the governor's seat. in minnesota, other direction. democrats won back control of the house in minnesota and the senate there, and because they already held the governor's mansion, that ones one party, democratic control throughout that state next year. so it went across the country. in 2012 the parties console deathed power at the state level in a way that is sort of without precedent in modern american history. red states got really red, blue states got really blue.
it goes further than that. because it's not just one-party rule. one-party majority. it's one-party mega rule in a lot of states. take a look at california. democrats don't just have a majority in the california state legislature now. they are going to have a super majority. meaning that republicans essentially don't have enough minority power to stop anything the democrats want to do. the same story in indiana, but for the republicans. indiana republicans will have a super majority in the house and in the senate and they hold the governor's mansion. ditto, oklahoma. republicans took a supermajority and turned it into an even bigger supermajority. this is what happened in 2012. not just the disappearance of divided rule in the states. split rule between two parties. but the rise of super majority one-party rule. that's a position of immense power for whichever party it is in control. they get to do what they want. if you think about it, you better trust those people because there's essentially no
bulwark against them in these states. one state on the precipice of getting that super majority status is the great state of ohio. heading into this year's elections, republicans in ohio controlled the governor's mansion, they controlled the house, they controlled the senate. in the senate, republicans currently have that supermajority status. in the ohio senate, it is the democrats -- there are democrats there, but they are essentially powerless. and the ohio house, republicans are definitely in control there. they have the majority, but will they have a super majority there too? an unreviewable, uncheckable, mega majority that lets them rule at will? they might. they are one seat away from that in the ohio house. one seat away from giving republicans total unobstructed control in ohio. rendering the democratic party in state government there essentially moot. they only need one house seat to get that. and right now in ohio, there are two house seats that have not been called. that are too close and they've gone to a recount. if republicans win both seats,
the ohio republicans will have, what's a nicer to say a death grip on power in that state? how are those races going to be decided in ohio? remember this guy? yes. republican secretary of state john husted of ohio. john husted, you may recall, worked tirelessly leading up to this year's election to try to limit the number of days with early voting in the state. early voting tends to favor democrats. he attempted at one point to make it so republican-leaning parts of the state would have more of an opportunity to early vote than democratic-leaning parts of the state. but the other thing john husted did was fought up until election day to make it easier for him to throw out provisional ballots. provisional ballots, basically ballots that are put aside because there's some question about that voter's eligibility, or where they are voting. and in the two house races that have yet to be decided, guess what it's coming down to. look at this one. in one of the races it's 14 votes that separate the two
candidates. 14 votes between them. in that race, the number of ballots that secretary john husted has ordered be thrown away is 114. hmm, that might make a difference. in the other house race that has gone to a recount, the candidates are separated just by this tiny margin of 119 votes. guess how many provisional ballots john husted wants thrown out in that race? more than double the margin, 270. in those two races ohio democrats are now alleging that those provisional ballots, which could decide these two races and thereby decide whether or not the ohio republicans have a super majority rendering democrats moot in the state, ohio democrats are alleging that those provisional ballots are being thrown out illegally by secretary of state john husted. democrats say the ballots are being thrown out, quote, in violation of federal law. these two races are so close right now their outcomes will determine the balance of power in the state of ohio. they will determine if republicans have a super
majority that renders democrats irrelevant and that question is hanging on those provisional ballots that democrats say the republican secretary of state is having thrown out illegally. ohio democrats are suggesting they are going to sue over what's going on there right now and you can understand why they might. any power they hope to have in the state depends on it. watch this space. if you think running a restaurant is hard, try running four. fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase.
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the 80th congress of the united states did very little. it got very little done. little enough that when president truman called it the do-nothing congress, everybody agreed. and decided to call it senate forever after. look up do-nothing congress, it's in the index of your high school history book. i swear. starts with a "d." the 80th congress, which changed the course of american political history by famously doing nothing, was like an auto plant work, at full-boom economy three-shift capacity compared with the current congress which is just now sputtering to its
end. wait until you see what the new incoming congress has in store for itself. what we have just learned about what the new congress plans for itself will make you want to be in congress. even if nothing else in your whole blessed life has ever made you want to be in congress before. that's coming up. ♪ aids is not going to take my baby. ♪ aids will not take our future. ♪ our weapons are testing... education, care and support. ♪ and aids... ♪ aids is going to lose. aids is going to lose.
there's a school of not so much political science as sort of political pseudoscience that says what the price of gas is determines what happens in our national elections. now, it is not necessarily true. kind of correlation that sounds really compelling, but the more facts you look at, the correlation is not really borne out. still everyone says that it's true. it's one of those things that get passed on as if it's a truth that people like to believe in. whether or not it is true. and in newt gingrich's slow run at the presidency this year, it seems like mr. gingrich maybe got enamored with that whole wive's tale. i think he thought he could reverse engineering by making his presidential campaign about gas prices for awhile. thereby creating the impression among voters that gas prices
might go down under him if he were elected president. i think that was mr. gingrich's planned road to the white house for awhile. that road did not lead to the white house. it didn't even lead to a fox news gig. apparently. what is newt gingrich doing now anyway? gas prices are not just politically sailing. because of those cockamamie theories, gas prices are politically sailing because they're so thinly related to our economy. more than any other commodity the price of gas has a direct impact on how much pocket change americans have to save or spend on anything else. >> people are not happy this morning. gas prices are going up. once again. in fact, many people are flocking to places like this argo here in davis to find the cheapest gas prices around. right now a gallon is going to cost you $4.13. last week it jumped 16 cents. at many gas stations in california. prices are expected to go up another 20 cents in the next few days. >> gas prices go up and down. there's supply and demand.
every once in awhile like in that report, there's a dramatic spike. the weird thing about that particular gas price spike in may that sparked that news report, was that that gas price spike was really isolated. gas prices went way up in california, even as gas prices everywhere else were going down. and at the same time that gas prices were going up in california, crude oil prices were going down. and even weirder, gas inventories were plentiful. they were going up. there was more supply. there was a lot of gas around. then why would it be getting more expensive? we were told refineries were the problem. >> last week, gas jumped as much as 16 cents at many gas stations in california. and prices are expected to go up another 20 cents in the next few days. a petroleum analyst says refineries are at its lowest level in 20 years in several california facilities. that make clean-burning gas. we're also dealing with repairs
and maintenance issues. >> repairs and maintenance issues at the refineries. so crude oil prices are down, plenty of gas in the inventories, but the refineries california refineries were not working at capacity because of repairs and maintenance issues and so california was getting a giant price spike. the biggest gasoline market in the nation had its prices going way up. down everywhere else, but up in california. that's what we were told. refineries. but there was no real reason to question it because it's happened before. a chevron refinery in california caught fire in 1989. flames shot 100 feet in the air. seven people were injured. gas prices spiked right away and people blamed the fire. the fire slowed supplies to retailers by 25%. gas prices in california went up. refinery goes down, prices go up. march 1999, same refinery. another huge explosion. it was the second refinery fire in the state that month. you guessed it. after that conflagration gas
prices went up in california. of course they did. just this past august, same refinery in richmond, california, caught on fire. nobody was killed, but people in the area were told to stay inside their homes. with their doors and their windows closed. drivers were told to close their windows, too. four train stations were shut down. and you guessed it, gas prices went up. you notice a trend here? that one refinery, that chevron refinery in richmond that has spent the last 25 years catching on fire over and over and over again, that is one of the refineries that we were told in may with that mysterious price spike, we were told in may that that refinery was offline. ah, that's why we had the price spike. the other one was this one. the royal dutch shell refinery in martinez, california. we were told they were offline for maintenance. so these two refineries being down, prices are going to go up. that's what drove up the prices in california despite all the other factors saying that prices shouldn't have gone up. that was in may. and people in california were prepared to accept that explanation.
history had prepared us to accept that explanation. however, check this out. earlier this month, a news service got its hands on a report that looked at environmental documents. thousands of environmental documents from the point in time when those refineries were supposedly offline. down for maintenance work. right? here's how mcclatchy describes the report's findings. in may, at a time when royal dutch shell's plant was reported to be down for maintenance for two weeks it appears to have been making gasoline for at least half that time. state environmental records show. nitrogen oxide emissions had returned to normal at the refinery a full week before it was reported to have come back online. really? similarly, chevron's richmond refinery was reported down for maintenance for two weeks in may, but a missions data suggests the refinery never ceased operation. shell's refinery in martinez,
and chevron's refinery in richmond, they were supposedly offline, not making anything. so gas prices had to go up. but at least one report concludes, actually, they were up and running. what, they just didn't want to say so? everybody knows how supply and demand works. but in this case, if supply and demand don't explain what was going on here, that's a scandal that had a huge economic impact. were the refinery companies lying about this just to boost prices up and pocket the difference? does this happen all over the country? what's going on here? and what tools do we have to figure it out if we're being suckered? turns out we do have a tool. it lives in the department of justice. six western senators are now calling on the department of justice to conduct a refinery by refinery investigation of what happened during that gas price spike in may. and another one that happened in october. is the energy industry snookering us and will they get caught if they are?
joining us for the interview is senator maria cantwell from washington state, chair of the subcommittee on energy, she's been leading the charge on this investigation. it's nice to have you here. thank you for joining us. >> good evening, rachel. >> let me ask in my layman's summary of that discussion, both the supply and demand factors at work, but what might have happened around may in that environmental report, did i get the basics of that right? is that basically the situation? >> rachel, i'm convinced that maddow matters, you drill down on the substance of these issues and that's exactly what we need the department of justice to do. >> what was it about the price spike in may and then again in october that seemed suspicious to you? was there something that tipped you off to start questioning whether or not that was a legitimate price spike just explained by supply and demand? >> well, my constituents tipped me off that they were frustrated gas was going towards $5. what they knew is that one
refinery went down, but why was everybody else saying that they were offline, or a lot of the market response basically saying that price spike was caused by a shortage? well, you outlined how inventories and supply were there. so supply and demand didn't seem to really be the issue. so our question is this. did these entities create the perception of an artificial shortage and thereby drive up the price of gasoline? that's what we want the department of justice to investigate. we want the ftc and the department of justice to be the policemen on the beat on something so important as gas, as you said, it's like the life blood of an economy. if you affect it by that price spike, it really does affect day-to-day consumers and our economy and jobs and everything else. >> do you believe the department of justice is capable of mounting this investigation? in a rigorous way? that they have the tools that they need? do they have a track record of investigating stuff like this well? >> they do have the tools they
need. why we're asking the department of justice to be involved now, in addition to the ftc, is that the investigative arm of the department of justice can marry up with the regulatory authorities that agencies like the commodities future trading commission have, or other agencies, and do a comprehensive report, you know, approach to get all of the data. this task force existed before when it tried to tackle the enron problem. another area of energy, electricity, but an area where we saw a lot of the same schemes being perpetrated on the public, you know, by people moving supply around or creating images about supply that really weren't true. in this case, it appears that there's some evidence that we want them to investigate, the fact that while they said they were down, emissions were still coming out of some of these facilities, which would lead you to believe that they were actually producing supply. >> we contacted the western
states petroleum association to get their response to this, to the mcclatchy report and also this call for an investigation. they told us if the department of justice elects to investigate gas markets on the west coast. we're confident they will reach the same conclusion that they dozens of other investigations over the past two decades have reached that gasoline and diesel prices on the west coast are determined principally by supply and demand. they also said the author of the report, who i cited here, he is not an expert in the oil industry and clearly does not understand refinery operations. his report contains many suspicions and theories, but does not prove anything. let me get your response to that remark from the western states petroleum association. >> there's a lot to cover there. let me just say this. there's a new law on the books of the last few years that basically says that it is against the law to have any manipulative devices or contrivances as it relates to moving oil supply.
this is a relatively new statute. it's not the issue of whether the oil companies got together in an anti-trust conspiracy to set pricing. this is about whether somebody, as i was saying before, created the image of an artificial shortage just to drive up price. and the reason why that law was passed is because we saw too much going on in our energy markets, something that's so critical to our economy, that we wanted to have a tougher regulation on the books. so this authority has been used in electricity and natural gas and a federal agency overseeing those entities have instigated over 107 cases and have had hundreds of millions of dollars of fines against companies who have had bad practices. so we're asking that the ftc and doj use the power that is in current statute, although relatively new, to do the same
kind of policing in these energy markets. and to mr. mccullough in oregon, we couldn't thank him enough in the northwest. because when the federal entities in charge of electricity failed to investigate fully the enron case, mr. mccullough provided crucial evidence by investigating tapes and documentation on behalf of our utilities in the northwest that proved successful in saving our consumers over $1 billion. so i could tell you, he's done great work before. and he's a first to admit that what we really need now is the department of justice to use their full power and get to the bottom of this. >> senator maria cantwell from washington state, chair of the senate subcommittee on energy. thank you for helping us understand this. please keep us apprised. i really appreciate it. >> thank you, rachel. >> i should also say,
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is there a diversity problem in the republican party? >> the fact is, that picture by definition, is not helpful. >> mr. gingrich, i agree. that picture is not helpful if you are a member of the republican party. a party that just got shellacked in the moist recent election by any voters who were not themselves middle aged white guys. turns out there are a lots of those voters. it's not helpful for republicans around the country to see a picture of the 19 republican congressmen elected to chair all of the republicans' congressional committees this next year. 19 committees, 19 white guys. some of whom defeated republican women members of congress who wanted those chairmanships. but republicans gave it to the guy instead. like for example, congresswoman candice miller a representative from michigan's tenth district. she's a republican. she wanted to be pick for the house homeland security committee. she's a member of that committee. her party said no, she was not picked. they picked a guy instead.
and not picking of women set off a kind of amazing attempt at damp damage control in the house. much of which was conducted by congresswomen themselves. and ultimately they set their hopes that there were still two committee chairs to be doled out. 19 committees had been assigned to 19 republican men. but there were two more committees where the chairmanships were doled out by the speaker of the house himself. maybe he would pick a woman for those committees, right? the problem of course is that in this upcoming congress, there are zero republican women serving on either of those two remaining committees that are still looking for a chair. so how could you put the chair -- when there's nobody in the membership -- who is speaker boehner going to paut in charge if there are no republican women on those committees? i mean, has that ever been done? has the speaker ever taken somebody who is not a member of a committee and made them the chair of that committee? has that ever happened? we have been digging around for an answer to that all day. and the answer appears to be,
never. at least not since the 19th century. when committees were assembled in a very different way than they are today. that's what makes today's news so interesting because house speaker john boehner announced today that he did find a gal. congresswoman candice miller, he has decided to put in charge of, not the homeland security committee, no, the house administration committee. so the woman who wanted to chair homeland security and was on that committee, instead, got a consolation prize. she's going to be chair of a committee that she hasn't been on before. a committee that among other things oversees the house cafeterias. so this, not helpful picture, is now, if i have done the math right, suddenly 105 more helpful. look, diversity. and speaker boehner has one more committee chairmanship to bestow. yes, there could be even more unprecedented diversity to come. [ female announcer ] think a thick cream is the only way to firm skin?
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harry truman's 1948 re-election campaign had all the hall marks of failure. two years earlier his democratic party lost control of both houses of congress. his legislative agenda was stalled. one of those in his cabinet announced he would run against his boss in a third party candidate. truman's approval ratings were at the bottom of the barrel low. he was expected to lose his bid for re-election. reelection. the chicago tribune went as far as saying he did lose the election. but truman won. and truman won in part because he ran his campaign not just against his republican challenger, but also against that republican congress. at his nominating convention that year, president truman delivered one of his most fiery speeches ever. he called the republican-controlled congress the do-nothing congress and he called on that do-nothing congress to return to washington
for a special session to finally do its job and pass a legislation, thank you very much. after that fiery convention speech, congress did come back for a special session, and they, well, did nothing. and president truman, therefore, continued to call them the do-nothing congress. and he railed on them about it on the campaign trail. and that campaign trail led him all the way back to the white house for a second term. 1948, harry truman talking about, and criticizing the 80th congress. this congress, one in washington today is the 112th congress. here is what has happened since the time of truman's do-nothing congress. here, that is truman's congress there, the red arrow, the one that couldn't get anything done, that was so unpopular that truman was age to run an otherwise hopeless campaign against them and win. the graph shows how much legislation was passed by that congress. here is our current congress. ah-ha. the good old 112th.
truman's congress passed a meager 900 or so bills. our congress passed fewer than 100. the weakest most anemic record on record for any congress ever. since the congressional clerk started counting the number of bills passed, no congress accomplished less than john boehner's congress. you know what? turns out people still care. just like they did in truman's time. the esteem the american people have for congress right now is mired in the low double digits. so there are still a few more days left in the 112th congress. they have set a new mark for congressional uselessness. the good news is, nowhere to go but up, right? maybe not. today the republican house majority leader eric cantor released the new house calendar for next year for the next congress. if you are hoping for more production next year compared to this year. look, 365 days on the calendar. republicans have decided to give themselves 239 days off including the weekends.